You’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and actually make those necessary changes to transform your life. You realize that you need to change. You can see that your life will improve dramatically if you make the needed changes.
So how does change happen most effectively? There are four stages of change that will help you make the transition to having higher self-esteem. They follow one after the other, although sometimes they overlap.
Recognizing that you need to change
In this first stage of change, you have not yet formed your new identity. Creating a new identity can be very frightening because although you accept and admit that you need to change, you’re in the process of dissipating your old identity. Even though you know it’s not working for you, having low self-regard is comfortable and making the needed changes is still uncomfortable.
Here are some tips for getting through this stage:
Realize that it’s time to take this important step in your life. Be willing to do whatever it takes to increase your self-esteem.
Rather than being worried about what is going to take place in the future, focus on what is happening in the present moment.
Give yourself permission to mourn the passing of your old self. Experience these feelings; then allow them to fade away. At the same time, recognize that it’s time to create your new self.
Imagining being different
In the second stage, you begin to concentrate on your new personality. You visualize and sense what it’s like to start to feel and act as though you have healthier self-esteem. You can see yourself developing the characteristics of this new personality.
You may feel the urge to make changes with your body or home, such as buying new clothes or painting a room. This is perfectly natural, so go ahead and do it!
There are several ways you can use your imagination to visualize the person you desire to be:
Daydream about how you’ll feel when your self-esteem is completely developed and you can easily accomplish what you want and live your life fully.
Use the guided visualizations in this book often to take you on inner journeys to help you acquire the characteristics you desire.
Create a collage of pictures, words, and phrases that represent having healthy self-esteem. Look through magazines to find images and text that reflect the new you, cut them out, and paste them on poster board you can purchase from department stores or art supply stores. Put your collage up where you can see it often, perhaps in the hallway or on your dresser — anywhere you pass frequently and are likely to take notice of the concepts and images.
After visualizing what it takes to have a stronger sense of self-worth, you’re ready to enter the next stage, which is taking those actions that lead you in that direction. Start with small steps first. Keep in mind that you may try and stumble, and things may not go smoothly at first. But realize that this is normal. You must be persistent and continue to take steps to increase your self-esteem.
Some things that can help you succeed in this stage include the following:
Continue to visualize and daydream in order to keep in contact with who you are becoming. Spend time by yourself thinking about the benefits of having healthier self-esteem.
Expect that you’ll make mistakes and won’t be perfect every time. But do eliminate those thoughts in your mind that you’re a failure and weren’t meant to improve your sense of self-worth and replace them with confidence that you’re on the right path.
Keep working on it. It takes time and effort to make these changes. If one technique doesn’t work well for you, try another one. Keep being persistent and determined. Eventually, you’ll find what works best for you.
Maintaining your new identity
Over time and with practice, you’ll find that having healthier self-esteem is easy. In fact, you’ll discover that it feels natural. You’ll have honed the techniques we present, and being self-assured will seem simple and comfortable.
The following strategies can help you sustain this stage:
Take time to feel gratitude for making the needed changes.
Congratulate yourself and take deep pleasure in having made this transition. Give yourself some special treat, such as going to a play or taking a much-needed vacation.
There’s a chance that you’ll relapse into being that person you were before with low self-esteem. If this happens, think about what happened and why you did what you did, and then turn it around as quickly as you can. Even if you have to stop what you’re doing mid-action or stop in mid-sentence when you’re talking with someone, do so!
Even if it’s a bit scary, it’s time for a change! Becoming stronger and more self-confident is something that can be mastered. You’re capable of living your life in a whole new way and re-creating yourself. You can push through and learn to think in a different manner by seeing greatness in yourself.
You can learn to appreciate your talents, skills, and capabilities. You can find that person with healthier self-esteem within yourself, no matter who you are or where you start from.